Are Mainers more prosperous after 4 1/2 years under Gov. Paul LePage? A fair question since that is what the governor has been promising us. Unfortunately, the answer appears to be “not so far.”

Available U.S. Census information for 2011 through 2013 allows us to compare Maine under LePage to 2010, the year prior to his taking office. For most of Maine’s population, our economic status has changed little from when Maine and the U.S. were in a recession. Median household income is essentially the same. The big economic losers under LePage have been the poor. The Census Bureau estimates that the number of Mainers living below the poverty income level increased from 8.4 percent in 2010 to 13.6 percent by the end of 2013.

Maine’s economy continues to falter on LePage’s watch. Is the governor to blame? Yes, in part. After all, this was supposed to be his strength and for the first two years his party controlled the Legislature, enacting his policies including income tax cuts.

The governor has done much to harm Maine’s economy by his lack of support for affordable higher-education, not addressing the workforce technical training needs of Maine businesses, ignoring the need for higher speed Internet, and his lack of support for adequate infrastructure investment.

His embarrassing antics and playing of favorites has created considerable economic uncertainty. Investors don’t like uncertainty and the fear of the governor’s pulling the rug out from under them has in some cases scared investors looking to invest in Maine to instead go to Canada, the other New England states, and of course, Washington state.

The governor’s midterm economics grade — D minus.

George Seel

Belgrade


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